Friday, September 07, 2001
How to save Gonzalo from becoming a murdering maniac? I have thought about that problem for quite a while. As Lars points out, "Everyone in the field of computer game studies and you might add media studies in general are subject to this kind of inferior way of looking upon media: the so-called media effects. These studies might be dangerous in many ways. "

One of these days (unless somebody beats me to it) I will sit down and write the history of media panics, the myth of how new media will have power over the simple minds of everybody but the few responsible souls who see the danger and worry on behalf of the rest of the brainwashed public. It's a story of academic arrogance, of conservative views expressed as fear and concern, and of a clever move of projection; where the problems of society are projected to the new media rather than to where they belong.

Children don't spend 10 hours a day before the television because it's so hypnotic, they do it because their parents can't afford to spend time with them and take them out to have first-hand experiences. Parents don't use television as a baby-sitter because they are idiots, but because the mobile society leaves them isolated, without a social network and with no other options. Blaming the media is so much cheaper than giving social support to single mothers or building child-care centers and supporting sports or cultural activities for the older children.

Perhaps the people who blame the media are right that the public is easily fooled - at least, judging from the many many requests I get for doing lectures on: "Why computer-games are bad for children," the public is easily distracted from the real issues of power and distribution of resources.

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